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Making Books and Reading Part of Well-Child Care in Maine

| Community Partners

Health care providers across Maine are such an important part of Raising Readers – we couldn’t do this without them! In honor of National Doctor’s Day on March 30th, we asked our friend Paula Daigle, Manager at Northern Light Pediatric Care in Presque Isle, to share her team’s experiences with Raising Readers.

Raising Readers has helped put books into the hands of all families, including some of our less fortunate patients over the years, many of whom would not have the opportunity to receive new books of their own. The excitement of bringing home a new book encourages families to disconnect from their phones, tablets, or other technology to spend quality time reading, laughing and cuddling.

Having the Raising Readers books on hand for the providers to gift to the children during well-child visits helps to build positive provider/patient interactions during what could be a stressful situation. After all, who really wants to get shots?!?

Using books to evaluate milestones

During well-child visits your provider will evaluate your child to see if they are meeting specific developmental milestones based on their age. Some milestones are based on physical abilities; sitting, standing, grabbing, etc., while other milestones are based on communication and problem solving. You may notice your child’s provider uses a Raising Readers book to see how your child is progressing with these milestones.   

Encouraging reading aloud to help children learn and think

Reading is a fundamental part of how we communicate. Providers use the wonderful books from the Raising Readers program to encourage parents and children to set aside time each day to read together. Reading to children helps in their cognitive development, encouraging children to think, learn and explore. Reading to your child also helps to increase their vocabulary, boost their memory and strengthen their focus.

Strengthening bond between provider and patient

Much like reading to your child each night helps to build and strengthen your bond, when your child’s pediatric provider brings them a new book at their well-child visit it helps to strengthen their bond with their medical provider.

Providers often tell stories about walking into a well-child visit with a book for the patient only to be asked by their sibling, “Hey Dr. Ayala, where’s my book?” The providers take the time to explain that they will get their book at their next well-child visit, giving the child something to look forward to.

Dr. Fournier recalled a sassy 3-year-old telling her, “Well, you had better march back out and get it, before someone else takes it,” when she forgot to bring the Raising Readers book into the room with her.

Patients and parents look forward to receiving their Raising Readers books at their well-child visits. Dr. Pineiro commented, “It is always bittersweet when they come in for their 6 year well-child check and we have to break the news to them that they won’t get a book this year. I’m not sure who is more disappointed, the kids or the parents.”

Raising Readers brings to mind happy memories I have of family reading time. My favorite children’s book growing up was “The Monster at the End of This Book” by Jon Stone…starring everyone’s favorite lovable, furry, blue monster Grover. As a child, this was one of the only books that my mother would use silly voices with when she would read to my brother and me. This was one of the first books that I bought for my children and every time we would read it, Grover’s voice would get sillier and sillier and his reactions would become more dramatic, we would laugh and laugh. Someday I plan to buy this book for my grandchildren, in hopes of passing along my love of reading and getting small child snuggles.